Report may show DNA damage in Vietnam vets

A report to be released this week is expected to say that Vietnam war veterans exposed to Agent Orange and other herbicides might have damaged their DNA.

The Sunday-Star Times reported today that the report has researched the DNA of 25 Vietnam veterans and is expected to conclude that the veterans have suffered long-term genetic damage as a result of their exposure to environmental toxins in the war.

A research team based at the Institute of Molecular BioSciences at Massey University in Palmerston North studied what is known as “sister chromatid exchange” in cells. This test analyses the way chromosomes reproduce themselves. It looks for clastogens, which are environmental agents that cause genetic damage and can cause cancer, the newspaper said.

The chromosomal reproduction of the 25 veterans has been compared with a control group of 25 former servicemen who did not serve there.

Veterans and their families who have battled with serious health problems and birth defects have argued for 30 years that the defoliant Agent Orange has had a genetic impact upon them and their children.

The families hope the scientific evidence will strengthen the veterans’ case when the compensation commission considers the health impact of Agent Orange upon the servicemen.

Two years ago a select committee confirmed that Agent Orange was sprayed on New Zealand soldiers in Vietnam.

Published: 2006, Jul, 23. | Time-stamp: 10:59 AM Sunday | By: NZPA | Article Link: nzherald.co.nz | Article Title: Report may show DNA damage in Vietnam vets.

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